Biotic interactions

CASE: An assignment for the Minor in Programming I did during my Biology studies: design and create an interactive data visualisation in JavaScript based on a dataset of your choice within one month. I picked out the Global Biotic Interactions (GloBI) open access dataset that contains species interactions, such as predator-prey, pollinator-plant, pathogen-host, and parasite-host.

PROBLEM: Many species specific research papers on biotic interactions have been published, but in order to get an overview of what is known and how a system of interactions or an ecosystem functions, it is important to get an overview of the available data, and then translate that in a comprehensible manner to be able to see patterns in the data, gaps in knowledge, but also to grasp how ecosystems function and that every species plays an important part.

SOLUTION: I created an interactive hairball network that highlights the complexity of biotic systems. Further exploration of this network is facilitated through use of data filters (type of interaction, organism groups), a search bar, a clustering option as well as specific interaction and species information on hovering and mouse.

RESULT: A nice grade for the project (9 out of 10), a detailed project process report and scripts available at and an interactive visualisation that you can spend hours exploring, available at

Click here to play with the end result!